Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

My dear fellow shift worker friend, Shannon, was deprived of her traditional Black Forest cake for her birthday on Friday. We had a knit night coming up, and my other lovely bestie told me we were going to pull an impromptu birthday shindig, which to me translated as an excuse to make and eat cake. You can use your logic to realize I made the cake for Shannon.

I ran into a problem with scheduling. Black forest cake is a "intensive process cake "(I totally don't agree with that).  I finished my set on Sunday morning, had a fundraiser event that lasted from 4-8pm (that was a mercy that it didn't run longer) that night, and then had a dentist appointment on Monday morning (knit night was Monday night).  Not a lot of time for cake making.

My wife, very kindly, inquired when in god's name was I going to have time to make this cake.  Fortunately I am stubborn and willful.  She suggested I use chocolate cake mix instead of making it from scratch.  Done.  I used a betty crocker mix and regretted it, since I'm supporting those stupid GMOs by buying this product.  Oh well, I won't do that again.

I used canned cherries we had made from the summer previous (2 x 1L jars) and cooked them down with some of the liquid to make them squishy, then used corn starch to thicken it.

I sliced the cake into 4 layers with sewing thread (thanks, Pinterest).  I used the cherry juice (ie, sugar syrup) to moisten the layer, then plopped on some whipped cream, then cherry goop, then another layer, repeat.

My ever intelligent and experienced wife suggested a crumb layer to seal it all in.  A crumb layer is the secret to having perfect crumb-free icing.  You smear your cake with a thin layer of icing, then let it harden (ie, dry out), then you can ice to your hearts content without worrying about crumbs.

Hilarity ensued when I tried to get the sprinkles on the side (I had an audience too, thanks Jill, who was ever so supportive as I flung "chocolate flavoured decorations" on the side of the cake).

Fortunately this cake turned out REALLY well, and we ate almost 2/3 of it with 6 people.  The effort into this cake were well worth it, and it wasn't even that hard!  If you were EPICALLY lazy you could use cherry pie filling, but don't skimp on the real whipped cream (oil products masquerading as whipped cream are disgusting!).  In making the cherries and the whipped cream myself, I was able to cut down on the amount of sugar which was in each, which made this cake just sweet enough but not so oversweet that we were all sick by the end of it.  Also, cake mix is PLENTY sweet.

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